São Paulo

São Paulo Travel Guide

In a city where the skyscrapers seems to stretch on for miles, just exploring the best of the architecture is one of the top things to do in São Paulo —and your hotel concierge can help hook you up with any number of guided tours. There are plenty of cool things to do in São Paulo. The Jardins (especially on Rua Oscar Freire and Alameda Lorena) is where you’ll find the more upscale boutiques, while Centro is where you can browse market stalls of leather, textiles and crafts. A great place to start, near the Mariana metro stop, is the Casa de Vila, which offers Brazilian handicrafts from a beautiful 1929 mansion. São Paulo is a hotbed for contemporary art galleries, such as relative newcomer Raquel Arnaud, focusing on Brazilian artists, or Galeria Vermelho, which tends to show more international talent. To see truly up-and-coming work, walk down the Beco do Batman (Rua Gonçalo Afonso) in the Vila Madalena district— a colorful, graffiti-lined alley that changes continually as street artists add new works.

If you love nightlife, your list of what to do in São Paulo should start with a generous dose of the local coffee. The evening really kicks off at about 10 around here, at lounges such as Suite Savalas (have an amaretto-infused Corleone) or Emporio Sagarana, where you can partake in a refreshing glass of sugar-cane-based cachaça. For a hot dance club after midnight, check out Casa 92, which feels like the home of a very well connected friend.

Colorful, boho- chic dresses and tunics are displayed on luggage trolleys at Brazilian designer Adriana Barra’s new flagship store, in Jardins. Barra also creates the vivid prints for the home-furnishings collection on the second floor.

Quality condiments like artisanal tapenades and high-end cachaças, Brazil’s sugar cane–based firewater, as well as sustainable handbags from Mãos Brasil, top the duty-free goods at this Brazil-only shop.

The 25,000-square-foot store is the city’s gargantuan temple of chic - dealing in everything from cars to carry-alls.

Galeria Melissa is a mecca for plastic and rubber footwear. Expect stylish sandals, sneakers, and kitten heels by Vivienne Westwood, Karim Rashid, and Jason Wu, among others; the rotating installations by local artists at the massive entranceway draw even the non-shoe obsessed.

The cozy, tiled Original elevates draft beer to high science. The brew (small-bubbled Brahma) rests in iceberg-cold tanks for at least two days to settle the head.

This tiny art gallery run by Brazil’s government-owned airport management company hosts small monthly painting, sculpture, and photo exhibitions from Brazilian artists, some of which, depending on their popularity, spill out into the terminals.

Most international flights to Brazil arrive around sunrise: head out of customs and head straight ahead to start the day off with the country’s beloved pão de queijo (cheese bread), which marries blissfully with a strong cafezinho (small espresso).